Eric Rohmer loved realism so much he felt that the only way to re-create Paris during the latter years of the revolution was to…build it from scratch by inserting actors in front of painted backdrops digitally. The loss of any revolutionary architecture in modern Paris didn’t make faking it in old buildings an option for Eric. The film looks like a moving painting, the characters have a strange glow around them as if their skins were painted yet the performances by Lucy Russell and Jean-Claude Dreyfuss take the film into the realm of cinema.
Rohmer’s film is about a woman who is an outsider, a Scotswoman in Revolutionary France, whose world is assaulted at all sides and whose relationship with the Duc d’Orleans with whom she was in love compels her to stay in France through the reign of terror. Rohmer has been accussed for being “anti-revolutionary”. It is “anti-revolutionary” in so far as it is obsessively showing Grace Elliot’s point of view but on no level does it ask sympathy for the character and her viewpoint is but one of many.